What to see in Marseille in one day

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Creative, cheerful and lively city, Marseille despite having fully entered the French territory, jealously maintains its own autonomy and a very specific personality. It is chaotic, noisy and full of people, which is why it represents a curious and original corner of Provence.

It is not big, yet the attractions to visit are many, the main ones can be discovered in 24 hours. It was her beauties that earned her the title of Naples of France. There are those who know it for the Island of If thanks to the novel by Alexandre Dumas "The Count of Monte Cristo", those who know it for the famous soap and others for its port. To get to know its true nature it will be enough to linger on its beauties even in a single day as long as you bring a specific program in your suitcase. Crowned European capital of culture in 2013, here what to see in Marseille in one day.


  1. One day itinerary in Marseille: Morning
  2. One day itinerary in Marseille: Afternoon
  3. One day itinerary in Marseille: Evening
  4. User questions and comments

One day itinerary in Marseille: Morning

1 - Porto, Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde

Quick breakfast at Bar de la Marine, pleasant café near the port where for € 4,00 you can enjoy a typical French breakfast. To the Old Port early in the morning we await the fishermen to open what is in effect a picturesque and original fish market. From here we get on bus number 60 which leaves right from the Vieux Port to get to the hill where the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde. Alternatively, you can take a tourist train that always leaves from the port. The walk, for those who want to do it, is about 30 minutes.
From here you can enjoy a suggestive panoramic view over the whole of Marseille. The Basilica, built in 1853 in Romanesque-Byzantine style, has a statue of the Virgin on the tip of the bell tower to protect the entire city. To leave you breathless are its interiors, the polychrome mosaics, its golden elements. Upstairs you cannot miss the visit to the Sanctuary, large and colorful in which with the boats hanging from the threads that descend from the ceiling, it is remembered that the Basilica is the protector of sailors (as well as of fishermen and all Marseillais). Last visit is the one to the crypt.

2 - Museum of sacred art

visit Museum of Sacred Art, inaugurated in 2013, the year in which the city was named European Capital of Culture. Inside you can admire paintings and objects that trace the history of the Basilica from its construction to today through the works that have accompanied it. It is located inside the Basilica, so the path is not difficult to locate.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 3,8 km / 53 min
  • Places visited: Vieux Port (free), Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde (free), Museum of Sacred Art (free)
  • City pass Marseille 24, 48 or 72 hours
  • Where to have breakfast: Bar de la Marine, 15 - quai de Rive Neuve

One day itinerary in Marseille: Afternoon

1 - Historic center, Panier district, Church of the Vieille Charitè

Returning to the center on foot, in about 15 minutes we reach Rue Saint Saens where we stop for lunch from fuchsia, a trattoria with an Italian menu where for about € 21,00 you can enjoy a menu with dish of the day, a glass of wine and coffee. We are moving towards the Old Town passing through the old port again along Rue de la Republique. We arrive in Le Panier district, redeveloped since 1983 and made very pleasant indeed. Although before it was one of the most dangerous places and in an almost total state of neglect, today it is fascinating, full of joy, alive thanks to the workshops of artists and craftsmen. Always here we will go to visit the Church of the Vieille Charitè, an ancient hospice masterfully restored and consisting of four wings of buildings on 3 floors that overlook a courtyard with the chapel in the center. Its façade, in Italian Baroque style, is dated 1863 and takes up the theme of Charity. Since 1986 the complex has housed some museums including that of Mediterranean Archeology.

2 - Cathedrale de la Major, Muceum

In less than five minutes on foot, crossing Rue du Petit Puits, you arrive at the Cathedrale de la Major, which fascinates and intrigues with its white and green marble and its 146 meters high. It is made up of two churches: theAncient major which was divided in 1850 to build the New major (in Byzantine Romanesque style). The old one can no longer be visited because it has been closed for some time. Right in front of the Cathedral is the Muceum, Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations. Its glass and steel structure is undoubtedly worth a visit.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 3,6 km / 48 min
  • Places visited: Le Panier district (free), Church de la Vieille Charitè (free), Cathedral de la Major (free), Muceum (€ 9,50 - € 13,00 with audio guide)
  • Segway tour for 1 hour to the Panier neighborhood
  • Where to have lunch: Fuxia, 27 Rue Saint Saens

One day itinerary in Marseille: Evening

1 - Dinner and walk in Place de la Major and Vieux Port

For dinner we opt for the restaurant Il Duomo, so we do not stray from the Place de la Major. Typical menu around € 40,00. The prices are not very low, but they reflect the Marseille average. After dinner you can set off to visit the city in the evening (even more beautiful) towards Old Port, a place where the Marseille nightlife comes to life. Clubs, pubs, people strolling, it's easy to find any entertainment you are looking for. Stopping at the local The Caravelle, just a stone's throw from the old port, you can attend an evening of traditional French music or live jazz music. Its very suggestive position makes it one of the most characteristic places in the area.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 1,6 km / 21 min
  • Places visited: Place de la major (free), Vieux Port (free), La Caravelle (price based on consumption)
  • Sunset dinner cruise
  • Where to dine: The Cathedral, 12 Place de la Major

Before leaving: useful tips

  • When to go: there is no perfect period. In Marseille, the climate is Mediterranean, so there are mild and mostly rainy winters and hot, sunny summers. It is advisable to go in the spring to fully enjoy the Provençal nature that blossoms in all its splendor.
  • Marseille City Pass: useful to make the card that allows you to visit museums, use public transport (bus, tram, metro), get on trains and boats, get discounts on some purchases. The cost for a full day is approximately € 29,00.
  • Avoid taxis. The reasons are two: the higher cost of the route than that of public transport which is precise and efficient and the driving of the Marseillais is rather chaotic.
  • Living room: if you decide to extend your visit, take a look at our accommodation offers

What not to see: the attractions that are better to give up

  1. Place Longchamp and its Museums of Fine Arts and Natural History. They would deserve a visit, but in 24 hours it is impossible to see everything, especially since there is usually a queue here.
  2. Castle of If. It is located in front of the port and being located on an island to reach it requires the use of a ferry or a boat which for lack of time we must give up.
  3. The Corniche. The long panoramic road that runs along the sea, full of villas and monuments. Due to its extension it is not possible to visit it.

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